until the sun comes up…

…on the Santa Monica Boulevard…

santa-monica-pier2I’m here in Santa Monica for a video and editing 4-day crash course (plus a travel day). I still don’t really have energy to download all the photos I should, and totally update here, but I’ll give a little overview of what’s been going on, and a catchup from my trip here.

  • Tammie came to visit at the beginning of November. Her husband, the sweetie, arranged it all as a surprise, and she came for a few days. It was so much fun! I got to play tour guide and we went all over the Bay Area. Seriously: Alcatraz, Chinatown, North Beach, cable cars, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Livermore, thrifting, The Cheese Board, Muir Woods, The Pelican Inn, Ocean Beach (where we saw an otter swimming in the Sutro Bath ruins!), Golden Gate Park, two museums… plus election night in the Castro! Also we spent a night in and watched really bad movies (think: Striptease) and ate cheese and exotic fruits and laughed ourselves silly. It was fantastic. 
  • Lots of travel and weird scheduling stuff, including two trips to Oregon (one a shortie to support a friend and one long one for Thanksgiving).
  • Plus this 5-day work trip to Santa Monica.
  • This on top of two months of lots of fast change and general good stuff.

It’s just been a lot. All good, but after years of not much happening, having all this happen at once has been a little breathtaking — or rather, breath-stealing… I feel like I barely know what’s going on any given day. The next two months are going to be much slower: no travel except maybe a short ski trip or two, maybe a couple short work trips. It’s the holiday season but I’m going to take a lesson from last year and really under-do things and only do things that I enjoy. I did already decorate the living room, but that’s another post. I already made a lot of gifts (marmalade and plum liqueur) and plan on keeping things nice and simple. Make some gingerbread cookies, stay home for Christmas, etc. The beau (yes, there’s a beau) has expressed a desire to celebrate Solstice this year so we’ll do something meaningful for that, which will be a nice new tradition.

Life is really pretty great right now, I have to say. I’m profoundly grateful for all the good things in my life. It’s bittersweet and probably always will be. That’s okay — that’s life, right?

So back to now: Los Angeles. Santa Monica. I don’t really like LA, but I always try to explore and enjoy any new place. The beach is nice, although I definitely prefer Northern California or Oregon beaches. The pier (above) is pretty, and very close to where my hotel and the class is. The downtown is a little overwhelming, and it’s been raining, but I’ve gotten some good walking in, and went to a great restaurant tonight, True Food, which was created in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil, who I like (generally). I had a ginger drink (nonalcoholic), some miso soup, and a very delicious salad with farro, dates, manchego cheese, pomegranate seeds, etc. It’s a goal of mine to eat healthy on this trip as I feel like all I’ve done pretty much all November was either eat out or eat holiday food, and now I have 5 more days of travel food, oy. I did locate the Whole Foods nearby, and thankfully the one good thing about LA is that people are all crazy about health stuff so there are some very good options.

The class I’m taking is a 4-day video and Final Cut Pro workshop. It’s 9 hour days and CRAMMED with information. I feel like I learned an entire week’s worth of information today alone, but it’s all immediately useful, so it’s been worth it. I’m excited to start using these new skills for work — it’s been awhile since I felt like I learned something that I was both interested in and had at least a scrap of talent for. Tomorrow we start to shoot some video, and then we’ll edit it. I’ve messed around with editing some and feel like it’s something I might be sorta good at — at least, good enough to make a decent product and semi-enjoy myself while making it.

The teacher, however, is something else. I’ve worked with him before over the last few years on various video projects for work. He is a very nice man, but… oy. Seriously. He has very little internal edit, and the things that come out of his mouth… He offended at least three people in class today (“Idaho… isn’t that where the most racist city in America is? That skinhead town? What’s a potato farmer like you doing here in LA?”), but he made up for it later, as he does — he’s one of those people who is really hard to take, but has a good heart and eventually wins you over in spite of himself. Think: a small, hairy, sweaty, manic Jewish man telling vaguely offensive jokes, name-dropping stories every 5 seconds (although since he HAS worked at E, Inside Edition, Reuters, etc., they are all true and somewhat interesting), and endless self-promotion. Seriously, dude, dial it down a little. However, somehow it works for him — by the end of the class, I liked him more than I have in the past, and although he is kind of hard to take, I see that he just wants to share all this great stuff, and he is a pretty good teacher. It’s exhausting, but fun, and he is entertaining, I’ll give him that.

So there’s three more days of this.

And then? I will download some photos eventually, I promise. I’ll attempt to read more than a chapter or two a night and get through this massive book (actually a trilogy). Make a list of Guidelines For The New Year (not goals: those never work for me). Enjoy the season. Enjoy being happy and rested and content. Exercise some. Make some soup. Go skiing. Continue finally getting the yard put back in order (I let it go all last year and it’s taking some hard work to get it back into shape). Plan for some fun things next year.

Life is good. I am so thankful. A year ago, I didn’t know it would be this good. I’m still afraid for the other shoe to drop, but maybe enough shoes dropped over the last few years that I’ve been awarded a temporary reprieve. I’ll take it.

That’s it for now. I have another day of sweaty mania tomorrow, so gotta rest up!

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cat report (with video!)

Thomas the cat gets to be outside sometimes now. He is a good boy and comes when he is called, and it’s usually a pretty dramatic reaction when I call him:(and yes, that is cat-grass barf on the rug in the last shot — I didn’t notice it until after I’d said, “Good boy, Thomas!” Yeah, real great, Thomas.)

Finn is continuing to look adorable with his little cut-velvet suit and boots. So soft.

I think T. just got an apartment so my time with him is limited (he will go live with her), which makes me so sad. I have tried very hard to think of him as my “foster kitty” and not get too attached, but of course that is futile and he’s got my heart. I will miss him. T. is of course an excellent kitty-parent and he’ll be loved and pampered and get tons more attention than I can give him, but I am still sad and will miss that little fluff.

It will be nice to have the house not divided, of course (the kitties don’t get along and I have a gate in the hallway to keep them separated, which nobody likes). And Thomas will have the full run of the house again, which he’ll love. It’s best for everyone. It’s still hard, though. That Finn is so darn adorable. Right now he is curled up on the bed with his whole face buried in his fluffy tail. I think he’s been cold since his haircut.

So, pretty soon, it will be just me and Thomas in the house. As much as I’ll miss Finn, I’m looking forward to not having to divide my time between the two kitties; no matter where I am, someone is unhappy, and that has been a little difficult. Thomas is a good companion and now that he’s able to be outside with me, that little puppycat and I will spend lots of time together. I’m so glad I have him. Such a good boy. And so… energetic!